Paula’s Prompt

Here’s my response to the amazing @PTWyant’s Wednesday Prompt! To see her prompt (which is quite an amazing picture!) go to

I’ve come up with another response at as well.

The man laughed and led the woman by the hand. Gray shadows fell over both of them, as they turned towards the light, falling through the skeletal branches.

There was so little light in the Shadow Forest. The man and the woman hungered for what small beams of warmth they could find.

“Do you think it’s him?” the woman asked. She dared to hope that maybe their darling had returned to them.

“No,” the man said shortly. He shook his head. Forced himself to smile. He didn’t want to dwell on what they’d lost. It was too painful. Better to delight in what feasts awaited them and here was a radiant beam of dreams and hope. “However, it’s strong and steady.”

“It’s not him,” the woman said. She shivered. “He abandoned us. We’re on our own.”

“We’ll manage,” the man said encouragingly. “Come!”

He leaped into the glow, bathed in it, absorbed it. The woman followed him, lifting her hands up. Drinking the dreams, the sorrows, whatever this light had to give.

Somewhere, someone shuddered in her sleep. Woke up a little paler, a little number, with a little less joy in the world. A little less inspiration to bring to her drawings. The man and the woman would never care. She’d hadn’t been a person. She’d been water in the desert, while the two shadows had been dying of thirst.

They were a little stronger and a little more solid now, after feeding.

The woman wasn’t quite ready to move on, though.
“How could he leave us?” she wailed. It wasn’t a human cry. It was a lost soul’s shriek. “We were part of each other! How could he leave us?” She grabbed her companion and shook him. “How will we carry on without him?”

“The way shadows always have,” he said. He patted the woman’s hand, gently extricating himself from her grip. “We’ll find someone else, like we just did. Someone willing to let us into their mind and heart.” He smiled at her, exposing teeth, which were long and needle-like. “Someone who’ll feed us.”

She smiled back, revealing her own jagged fangs. They held hands, enjoyed the warmth which coursed through them, which only people living in the real world could bring.

He led her through the trees and underbrushes, where shadows were doomed to wait. On the edge of the shining paths, which mortals claimed for their own.

“It’s all right,” he reassured her. “If we can devour enough light, we may find a path for ourselves.”

She nodded, but she wasn’t convinced. She’d seen some of those shining, beautiful creatures, filled with stolen light. Oh, they looked human. They often believed themselves to be human. They never quite belonged, though. Clinging to their realities, often made up of patched dreams, they failed to become a part of these make shift worlds. Sooner or later, they always returned to the Shadow Forest.

Their fate was still better than remaining here. Drifting aimlessly, clutching for any stray beams of light, any passing dreams.

She crouched beside her companion in the darkness and waited. If someone walked by on one of the paths, she crooned and clutched at the unwary walker, along with all the other shades. She tried not to year for a familiar brightness, a multicolored gleam.

Those who walked the paths through the Shadow Forest had light and life. Enough to feed on. Enough to keep herself and her companion solid.

Even if none of the walkers were him.

Tears filled her eyes, as she recalled his warmth. Stolen warmth, but he’d shared it with his fellow shadows, until he’d been snatched away. Drawn into a world of solid things.

She could still see the sorcerer, gleaming with a seductive light of his own, bright enough to feed a dozen shades. She could see how their third had been beguiled by that light, drawn to it.

She moved her lips to shape his name, for right now, she had human lips and a human shape. Just as her companion beside her did. Who knew how long they’d keep these things, before they began to fade.

“Christopher,” she murmured. It wasn’t the name she, or her companion had given their beloved. It was the name the sorcerer of light had bound him with, when he drew his essence out of the darkness.

Her companion heard the name, but refused to acknowledge it. There was only one name for their beloved, which would not be denied for a long. For it was whom he truly was.

“Happily Ever After,” he whispered. “You’ll come back to us, eventually. You can’t deny whom you truly are, no matter what shape some warlock tries to force you into.” He clenched his fists against his sides. “You’re driven to try and give everyone a happy ending, no matter whom they might be. And that includes shadows.”

He smiled out at the darkness, despite the fact that his cheeks were wet. He’d enjoy his own misery. Like everything else in this place, it never lasted long.


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